Can I say it’s winter yet?

Because I am saying that.

But wait. I shouldn’t. Mainly because it was close to 70 degrees [or something] the last few days. Have you ever seen Mean Girls? I know you have. Don’t lie. LiLo was at her PRIME. Anyway… remember Karen? Who swore that her… certain body part… could predict the weather? I’m totally picking up what Karen’s throwing down. Sort of. I mean, not that body part, but my body… in general. I haaaaaaate to be hot. I could add about 56,000 more “a’s” in that word just to distinctly convey my true feelings on the subject. I really love to be hot if I’m laying on the beach or right near a pool, but otherwise, I will become you worst enemy. So, as I was making dinner Monday night… in my workout clothes… because sometimes showering is overrated… I was getting HOT. I could just feel it. I rushed over to the thermostat to see that it was 74 degrees in our house. 74! This is huge and super hot for me considering I am adamant that the air conditioning stays at a crisp 67 degrees in summer, and that the heat doesn’t come on until I’m in two layers of pants and fourteen shirts. Seriously.

I am just such a JOY to live with. I know.

Needless to say, it’s been too hot for me to sleep the last few days. I’m such a nutcase that I can distinguish the comfort level between two degrees of temperature. I’ve tossed and turned. I’ve ripped layers of sheets off of myself because I must be covered up or else all the scary monsters will get me. I’ve become cold again around 3AM and flipped out because I have no covers. I’ve woken tired and restless and hot and cold.

And after all that, I just have to say that maybe it isn’t winter yet, but this pasta tastes like winter. Because I said so.

I didn’t even like pasta growing up. I dreaded Thursday nights because my mom made spaghetti or angel hair or penne with tomato sauce every.single.week, leaving me in the dust to either eat cereal, plain buttered noodles, or wallow up in my room blasting TLC’s Creep and organizing 310 Lip Smacker’s lip glosses. Some nights I chose the buttered noodle route, because I really love my bowl of parmesan cheese with a sprinkling of noodles. But most nights it was me, my boom box, and my mind trying to figure out what the Red Light Special was. I’m still not sure I know.


I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff in the kitchen this week: combining fruit with pasta, potatoes with cupcakes, and cookies with fish. Yes, I’m serious. No, I’m not even joking. But before you think I’m totally weird (which I am, whatever), you must try some of these almost-caramelized pears with noodles and parmesan and other things that are vegetables but I like to pretend aren’t really vegetables. K?


Caramelized Pear, Squash & Parmesan Noodles

Yield: serves 2-4


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 anjou pear, thinly sliced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
12-15 brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced
10-12 sage leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of nutmeg
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used pomegranate vinegar)
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Add shallots, garlic, squash, brussels sprouts, sage and pear, top with salt and pepper, then stir to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, then cover and cook for another 5 minutes. While veggies are cooking, boil water and prepare pasta according to directions.

Turn heat under veggies down to low, then add balsamic and stir. Drain pasta and add directly to skillet, tossing multiple times to coat. Add in parmesan cheese, taste, and season more if desired. Cover and let sit over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the flavors can mesh. Serve with additional parmesan cheese for topping.

P.S. You know how I always talk about my most favorite oils and vinegars ever? Just like last year, you can get 10% off your order if you use the code howsweet10. Enjoy!

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112 Responses to “Caramelized Pear, Squash & Parmesan Noodles.”

  1. #
    Laura @ Laura's Sweet Spot! — November 16, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    OHhhh this looks so good! I love butternut squash pasta dishes- can’t wait to try it : )


  2. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — November 16, 2011 @ 8:04 am

    Ummm can you read my brain? Because I was going to make a pasta exactly like this tomorrow. Bah humbug. haha!

    And I can’t sleep when it’s hot either – although my house was only 67 yesterday. And in the summer, we keep it at 75!! My husband is dutch. This explains my life.


  3. #
    Kathryn — November 16, 2011 @ 8:04 am

    I would say it’s definitely winter now (especially if that means I get to eat dishes like this!)

    Also, I have the same sleeping thing. I absolutely must have covers over me but at the same time, I get really annoyed and can’t sleep if I’m too hot. Nobody wins.


  4. #
    Emmy (Wine and Butter) — November 16, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    YAY! I was just thinking about pear and blue cheese tart yesterday – but I totally never thought to add it to pasta. This looks amazing – and I dont even like pasta that much eitehr. Lasagne all the way.

    I looooooved your TLC lip smacker throw back story btw. Suddenly got flashbacks to eating chocolate raisins, doing walkovers (okay I couldnt do those – what were the ones where u landed on 2 feet?!) and making up dance routines to waterfalls … after watching backdraft. Being born in 1982 rules.



  5. #
    Becki's Whole Life — November 16, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    This is great, because I always feel like squash and brussel sprouts need some additional sweetness so the pears are perfect for this. Yum, I bet this tastes magnificent over pasta…

    It’s hot here in NC, too, and we actually turned on the AC last night…because that is better than not sleeping sometimes….and my husband gets grumpy when he doesn’t sleep – so even more worth it:-)


  6. #
    movita — November 16, 2011 @ 8:09 am

    This looks delightful! Perfect for fall. If we were getting fall. Which we aren’t. (It’s making me nervous. I’m pretty sure 10 feet of snow will fall from the sky when we least expect it.)


  7. #
    Nicole, RD — November 16, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    Pear and brussels sprouts and squash…I’m all over it. My favorites in one pasta dish!


  8. #
    alyssa - fashion fitness foodie — November 16, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    This looks amazing…but fish in cookies??? only you!


  9. #
    Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers — November 16, 2011 @ 8:30 am

    I am loving this dish! I really need to move my butt and cut up my squash. It’s been sitting on my counter for weeks, and I have been to lazy to peel it, stupid I know. I love this pasta idea!! I truly don’t know how your brain works, coming up with these recipes, but I love it!!


  10. #
    Kim in MD — November 16, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    You crack me up, Jessica! :-) The pasta looks and sounds delicious…I love the combination of flavors!


  11. #
    Cassie - Bake Your Day — November 16, 2011 @ 8:41 am

    Yes, I remember Mean Girls! Hilarious. It’s still fairly warm in KC but is heading in the opposite direction! This pasta is mouthwatering…I have some squash and Brussels Sprouts, this could make dinner tonight!


  12. #
    shelby — November 16, 2011 @ 8:44 am

    seriously love you! :) and you make me smile and laugh and all good things around :)
    question did you cook the butternut squash before hand? because i don’t think i’ve ever had butternut squash cook that fast…and if it does cook that fast then I better start making it like this all the time!! so my question for you is did you cook the squash before hand? or did you just throw in raw, cubed squash to your skillet?


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 8:47 am

      Nope! As long as you chop it into small cubes (like 1/2 inch), it will definitely cook. It’s over a fairly high heat and cooks for almost 15 minutes straight, and is covered half the time!


  13. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — November 16, 2011 @ 8:44 am

    I love your flavor combinations – I would never come up with this!


  14. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — November 16, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    i absolutely love Mean Girls! you know what’s funny? one of my hubby’s roommates in college could quote it line by line. let’s just say that we wondered about him from time to time :)


  15. #
    Kelly — November 16, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    Okay it cracks me up that 74 is hot in your house. I would basically kill for that. This summer when it was 112 for like a gazillion straight days in a row we had out AC set on 80 and we still had $400 electric bills…it was off-the-wall-get-me-the-hell-outta-texas crazy!


  16. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — November 16, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    It’s crazy how such a thin sheet can keep the monsters away. Without that barrier, you could easily be eaten alive. At least that’s what I thought.


  17. #
    Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) — November 16, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    I’d never have thought to add pear to pasta! Um, I could never be your roommate.. it gets to 77 degrees and I’m shivering. Curse of having grown up in Las Vegas (i.e. the scorching desert), I guess.


  18. #
    Rodzilla — November 16, 2011 @ 8:52 am

    This looks like an awesome fall dish. Now I really want to hear more about fish cookies.


  19. #
    Katrina — November 16, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    Is it weird that I think this is weird? Because I do. Yet I want to eat an entire casserole dish of this. I’m confused. It’s too early for wine.


  20. #
    Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking — November 16, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    This looks so delightful, I want it NOW.
    Ok, cupcakes and potatoes I can see, even maybe the fruit and pasta, but…
    cookies and fish?!
    Oreos and tuna or was it chocolate chips and salmon?
    That I just cannot wrap my head around.
    How was the result, post worthy?


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:57 am

      Oh yes… coming soon. ;)


  21. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — November 16, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    I would’ve never thought to put pear in pasta. So different, love this!


  22. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 16, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    When I was younger, I always wished that I had a twin. Even though you and I look nothing alike and you’re a bit older, I SWEAR you must be my long lost twin! The Lisa Frank stuff, TLC, Lip Smackers… I was totally into ALL of that! Can’t say I was ever too big on buttered noodles, but I AM big on the Brussels sprouts in this recipe! ;)


  23. #
    Cookbook Queen — November 16, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    Yes, so…I could school you on Red Light Special, but I’m afraid of shattering your innocence. Let’s leave that one alone.

    I’m just as bad about temperature. I’ve been running the air at night (when I leave it off, the temperature stays at 72. 72?! That’s TOO HOT TO SLEEP!!!). My husband wants to kill me when he wakes up freezing. But I loooove it. Bring on the blankets!!


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:57 am

      Are you sure you’re not in bed with MY husband at night?!


  24. #
    kathleen @ the daily crumb — November 16, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    i cannot believe how beautifully that pasta photographed! for some reason that is one food i just cannot get a pretty picture of. given that i love anything and everything with squash, this is right up my alley!


  25. #
    Lindsey @ Fur in my Food — November 16, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    Summer = no fun unless you’re at a pool or a beach. I hate being hot and sweaty. Nearly year round I sleep at 65 or below. My sig-O hates it. My house, my rules. :)


  26. #
    Gen — November 16, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    This looks really yummy!!!! I’m sort of the opposite about weather temps…..if it starts getting to cold I can get MEAN! hahaha


  27. #
    Kelli — November 16, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    I love trying unusual combinations. Mixing pears and squash with pasta is right up my alley. I can’t wait to try this one. And there are times when I read your blog that I wonder, “wait, did I write this?” The similarities are ridiculous.


  28. #
    Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy — November 16, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    So in 6th grade during a rousing game of truth or dare, I had to slow dance with the shortest boy in my class (for the record, I’m 5’9″) to Red Light Special, and it has since been ruined for me. No Scrubs is still cool though.

    I fear putting fruit in my pasta.. but I think I might actually try this!


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:55 am

      Dude… I don’t even think my school ALLOWED Red Light Special to be played at dances… lol.


      • Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:57 am

        Oh no, this was very much an off-site and unsupervised party. But to be clear, I don’t think anyone in my class even made out until 8th grade, so they weren’t super risque or anything.

  29. #
    Bev Weidner — November 16, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    I absolutely get the scary monsters thing. For me it’s alligators. They’re under my bed and if I have any limbs (even a FINGERNAIL) hanging off the edge of the bed, the gater will rip me up like Christmas confetti.

    Did you save me any pasta?


  30. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — November 16, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    I also hate to be hot but I hate to be cold, too, which means I have basically 3 degrees of temperature that I can live with on a daily basis.

    Love everything about this dish!


  31. #
    Julia — November 16, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    I am the same way when it comes to the heat! Ahhh. And then when its all hot in there and you have to blow dry your hair? O M G. my boyfriend just goes out in the garage so he doesn’t have to hear me stomping around throwing a hissy fit that its 85 in my house but its only 60 outside WHAT THE HECK. and the heat isnt even on!


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:55 am

      The ONLY way I can blow dry my hair when it’s that hot is with the ceiling fan on high and completely naked. True.


  32. #
    Anna @ Food Fitness Frolicking — November 16, 2011 @ 9:41 am

    Yummy! I love this combination of flavors! Let’s just pretend it’s winter and start making comfort food..dishes like this..all the time.


  33. #
    JB — November 16, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    While this look deeeeelicious (and something I think I’ll be making for my vegetarian father), the purpose of this comment is mostly to say that I love how early you update your blog, because every morning I go to work at some UNGODLY hour (7 a.m….but I’m a college student, so cut me some slack!) and it’s always updated and I get to start off my morning oggling delicious food. So, in short, thanks! :D


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:53 am

      Thanks JB! :)


  34. #
    Kristen@PrettySweet — November 16, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    I always say that the transitional seasons (fall and spring) are my favorite, but that’s really because of the weather during the day. I’ve finally realized that my *worst* sleep is also during those times – for exactly the description you mentioned! It’s awful!!

    This pasta looks yummy! I like this idea of the caramelized pear with it! Pinning…=)

    What are your favorite vinegars from Fustini’s? I’m thinking about getting my dad some for Christmas…


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:52 am

      Ahhhh I can’t choose! I’d say the ones I use the most are the apple, pomegranate and blueberry… mainly because dumping a ton of vinegar on vegetables makes me eat them and I think those flavors pair well. I also love the peach, coconut and vanilla too!


  35. #
    Cait's Plate — November 16, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    I can’t sleep when it’s hot either. I literally woke up on 7 different occassions the other night because it was boiling hot. It’s the worst.

    Also? You now have me craving pasta at 9am.


  36. #
    Amanda — November 16, 2011 @ 10:04 am

    This sounds so good!

    I can relate to your story about eating spaghetti or angel hair every week growing up. Whenever my dad did the cooking, he would always make some variation of pasta, but he’d usually go with fettucini or a thicker noodle because my mom has memories of my grandmother only serving angel hair (it’s a complicated relationship between those two, to say the least). So of course, I now don’t like fettuccine but LOVE angel hair. Such is life.


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 10:51 am

      Hahaha, I am complete opposite! Totally get it.


  37. #
    Julie @ Willow Bird Baking — November 16, 2011 @ 10:04 am

    Ohhh this looks like a fantastic combination!!

    Also: “wallow up in my room blasting TLC’s Creep and organizing 310 Lip Smacker’s lip glosses”

    Yes! Totally remember those days…


  38. #
    Molly @ RDexposed — November 16, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    Shallots are so under-appreciated. I love when recipes call for them!


  39. #
    Hilliary @ Happily Ever Healthy — November 16, 2011 @ 10:23 am

    This looks delicious, I would have never thought to combine these flavors! Squash, pears and brussel sprouts a few of my favorite things!


  40. #
    Julie H. of Sprinach and Sprinkles — November 16, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    Can’t even lie, that is some crazy kitchen stuff this week. Potatoes and cupcakes, cookies and fish- However, I can live with pasta and fruit! :)


  41. #
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food — November 16, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    I just mentioned my love for buttered noodles last week! It’s all I used to eat when my grandma would make spaghetti when I was little!


  42. #
    Ashley@BakerbyNature — November 16, 2011 @ 10:56 am

    Nom – this looks so great! It’s super humid here! I don’t know where winter is?! Or Fall for that matter. Oh well, at least we can have it in pasta form :)


  43. #
    Kristina @ spabettie — November 16, 2011 @ 10:56 am

    it is SO cold here, I proclaimed it winter in August. you’d like it here.

    yay Fustinis! you KNOW I’ll be ordering again – that porcini olive oil? TOO good. are you still developing recipes with them? I look for things from time to time (yeah, I shop…) ;)


  44. #
    Krysten — November 16, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    Red Light Special!? I’m sure. As if we were old enough to fully understand a single line in any of those songs! On the floor laughing right now.


  45. #
    Anna @ On Anna's Plate — November 16, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    Our house was 76 degrees last night…a freakin’ sauna!!! Where did November go?!?


  46. #
    Steph @321delish — November 16, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    Holy wow this looks delicious. All my favorite fall flavors together!! Making this stat!


  47. #
    Ashley — November 16, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    I love how you bring back old memories of when you were a kid and talk about the things you used to do. Buttered noodles, oh yes. TLC, yupp! Although when you first said TLC, I was thinking you meant “the learning channel” and I didn’t remember watching that as a kid. The swirled pasta on the fork photo is lovely. I can definitely see squash + pears going together!! Definitely sounds like winter to me! Also…we keep our house at 67* right now and it still makes me sweat at night!!


  48. #
    katie @KatieDid — November 16, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    You just made me totally nostalgic for angel hair pasta. It’s been like over 10 years?! I wish they made it in a GF version.


  49. #
    Estela @ Weekly Bite — November 16, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    This is such a creative dish! I love how colorful it is :)


  50. #
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — November 16, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    I’ve never had pear in pasta before, but it sounds perfect in this dish. I’m definitely going to try this, and maybe add some pancetta to it :)



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